The Canadian Encyclopedia Celebrates 25 Years

October 6, 2010

The authoritative resource on all things Canadian accessed by millions of users over the past quarter century.

Ottawa, October 6 – This year The Canadian Encyclopedia celebrates its 25th anniversary.  This important anniversary will be celebrated with a reception in Ottawa on Wednesday Oct. 6th at the Government Conference Centre’s main lounge from 5:30 – 8:00p.m. Media are welcome to attend. The reception is co-organized by The Historica-Dominion Institute and Ensight Canada and is made possible through a generous contribution from Interac.

The Canadian Encyclopedia is a Canadian icon and remains the largest reference work ever compiled on Canada. It is now available as a public service free of charge in both official languages online at It continues to evolve in both its content and technology to meet the needs of the next generation. With nearly 50,000 articles written by Canadians from a Canadian perspective, The Canadian Encyclopedia is accessed by more than 4 million users each year. 

The Canadian Encyclopedia was first imagined by publisher Mel Hurtig, and quickly gained the support of the Alberta government under then-Premier Peter Lougheed. At the time of its first printing, the first edition of The Canadian Encyclopedia was the largest printing job ever seen in Canada – and the 150,000 copies sold out within months.

That the most comprehensive reference work in Canadian history was such a hit with Canadians came as no surprise to Editor-in-Chief, James Marsh, who explains that “the Encyclopedia was a bold statement about the country, an assertion and perhaps the closest thing we had ever had to an expression of the Canadian identity.”

The first edition was produced in five years of intense effort by a team of editors and a dedicated community of more than 3000 expert contributors who ensured the work's authority.  It was launched at a gala event at the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton.

A bestseller in print, with two editions and a student version, The Canadian Encyclopedia quickly established itself as the fundamental resource on Canada. With some 300,000 sets in circulation, The Canadian Encyclopedia was published in a number of CD-ROM versions before it went online in 2000. The fully bilingual encyclopedia incorporated the renowned Encyclopedia of Music in Canada in 2001.

The current production and delivery of The Canadian Encyclopedia as a public service is made possible through an intellectual property license agreement with the Government of Canada through the Canadian Studies Program at the Department of Canadian Heritage.

The Canadian Encyclopedia is a program of the Historica-Dominion Institute, the largest charitable organization dedicated to Canadian history, identity and citizenship. Its mandate is to build active and informed citizens through a greater knowledge and appreciation of the history, heritage and stories of Canada. Visit

For more information:

Christina Lanteigne
Marketing and Media Relations
The Canadian Encyclopedia
t. 778 835 1127